living and loving local

Saturday's rain (or should I say monsoon?) threw a wrench in a lot of fun plans this weekend, not the lease of which was the cancellation of Baltimore Green Weeks' kickoff event, EcoFest. Set to highlight myriad enviro-friendly organizations and local vendors from throughout the city, EcoFest was going to be a rollicking good time with live music, fresh food, demonstrations and activities in Druid Hill Park. Alas, it was not to be. And no rain date. Boo hoo.

But Sunday saw an eruption of sunshine, and so Green Week's
activities marched on. I had read about and eagerly awaited "Localize It!", hosted by Baltimore Free Farm in conjunction with Baltimore Green Currency with the goal of showing how fun sustainability can be. And fun it was! We arrived at the moment of launch for "BNotes," complete with the release of green balloons and BNote currency. What on earth are BNotes, you wonder? So glad you asked! According to BGC's website, they offer an "alternative economic that will strengthen local businesses, create jobs, encourage the for formation of local supply chains, and ultimately rpovide economic opportunity and increased resilience to communities underserved by traditional economic
structures." Long story short, you trade "normal" money for "BNotes" which you then use at the 48 local businesses as cash (the list of businesses is growing all the time so stay tuned to the directory!). The goal is to get people to think local, buy local, and be local. Plus, the BNotes look pretty cool!

After much fanfare and cheering, the BNotes became official local currency and the festival got underway. At the core of Localize It! was a chili cook-off and home brew tap-off (I made that up. But I like it) called "ChiliBrew" - for a suggested donation of $10, you got a sweet tasting mug and all the chili and beer samples your heart desired. Oooh, how yummy! I don't even like beer and I enjoyed myself! Top prize in my books went to the Thai-inspired chili and to LOVEBREW beer. To round out the festivities, there was a line-up of neat local bands of all genres.
Localize It! took place on Ash street, which is where one can find the Baltimore Free Farm, a really neat organization striving to promote "urban agriculture and sustainability through the creation of green spaces and community sanctuaries which utilize reclaimed materials whenever possible." The huge hillside lot was open to the public to see how volunteers have transformed overgrown abandoned lots into wonderful and fruitful farming. It's such a neat project and incredibly inspiring to see what dedication on the part of so many has done to improve the lives of even more. I really suggest you go check it out!

Here are just a few other images from the day, to give you a feel for the fun and festive atmosphere!

Such a great and exciting day! I really didn't know what to expect this morning, but I'm so glad I seized the (windy) day and ventured over. I am even more excited to go to the other Baltimore Green Week events I have on my schedule this week!

love k


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